Talking to Themselves

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Child, 6, talking to himself

Sept 2007

My 6-year-old son has recently started doing something odd: After he says something to me, he then whispers it again, word for word, to himself, sometimes even twice. He does this, not with every statement, but many times a day. The oddest thing is, when I ask him about it, he acts bewildered, and, if I pursue it, annoyed that I don't believe him, to the extent that I really am starting to think he's not aware he's doing it. This is not something I've noticed other kids doing. So I'm wondering, does it sound like a symptom of stress, or do some kids do it and it's just one of those strange things kids do? Karen

Your message jumped out at me, because I too talked to myself at age 6 (or younger), and would say something to someone and then repeat it to myself in a whisper once or twice. And you know what? I still do it sometimes--now mostly silently (if I'm with other people) rather than whispered, and I'm in my sixties! I've always thought of the habit as a sort of fascination with words--with how I worded what I said. Certainly it hasn't hindered my life in any way--I've had a successful professional career, and a happy family with kids and grandkids. I wouldn't worry. It may pass--but if it doesn't, well, in my case it's just one of those funny quirks... --a grandmother
My four year old son started doing exactly as you describe shortly before he turned 4. I was worried at first, but then my husband mentioned he did the same thing when he was growing up, and is, as far as I can tell, normal. They're both very intense people, so I guess it's not surprising. Try not to worry. Sounds familiar
My 5 year old has recently started talking to himself and I don't believe it is unusual behavior as kids process information differently than we do and often think out loud, so to speak. Lots of kids have very strong imaginations, even have imaginary friends, which I also wouldn't worry about. It's the sign of a healthy imagination. Try not to worry. Kim
I had imaginary friends when I was little and I would talk with them all the time, although silently to myself in my head. Perhaps this is what he is doing? Sometime around 6 or 7, I gave up my imaginary friends. (They just faded away in my imagination, I think.) It's probably harmless and will pass like all other phases. Andi
Can't tell you what it all means but I can tell you that my son started doing the same thing at around 5. He's turning 6 now and it's becoming less frequent but from time to time he still repeats back what he'd just said in a whisper. At first it was a little disconcerting but we got used to it...and found it a bit endearing even. I'll be curious to see what others have to say. Good luck. anon